Strategy Simulation: Creating Value in Complex and Ambiguous Settings is designed around an advanced simulation developed by Booth in which participants focus on operating a business. Students compete in teams to take a small start-up company from a struggling small business to a profitable medium-sized company positioned for success.
This course gives students the opportunity to integrate and apply knowledge from several disciplines simultaneously, providing insight into the complexity of real-world business situations and hands-on experience that is hard to come by in more theoretical courses. Not everything can be boiled down to a simple equation. A great strategy can be undermined by an ineffective team, and the right organizational chart for a start-up can become too simple as it grows. Negotiated agreements may not stand the test of time, and plans can go awry in the face of competition.
To succeed, students draw upon material learned in microeconomics, operations, competitive strategy, financial accounting, managerial accounting, corporate finance, negotiations, marketing, governance, managerial decision-making, and other subjects in the Booth curriculum. Success ultimately depends largely on a team’s ability to work together, make effective decisions, and compete or collaborate with other teams.
The outcome of the simulation depends entirely on the interaction between the strategies that the separate businesses employ, and on their ability to effectively execute these strategies. The end goal is to create a valuable business poised for IPO, merger, LBO, MBO, or some other strategy determined by the team. Students come away with a C-suite level perspective on the core functions of a business at various stages of development, as well as an intensely salient experience that they can draw upon in their careers.
Course Format and Methodology
In Winter 2022, Strategy Simulation will be taught in person over 9 weeks. The format is largely a mix of lectures and game play. Because Strategy Simulation is designed as a capstone course, students are expected to be familiar with or most of the underlying concepts. Most of the learning is hands-on, self-driven, and takes place experientially in the context of the simulation. Lectures serve as an overview and a reminder of concepts. Students are provided with frameworks, tools, and guidance, and the challenge of integrating the underlying material and finding their own answers is a central part of the learning experience. Approximately 4 hours per week are spent outside of class on analysis, planning, and game play in the simulation. Almost all of the work is done in teams, and thus the ability to work well with others is crucial to success in the course.
Please take the following into account when deciding whether to take the course:
- This course applies many of the concepts learned in other Booth courses.Students should be familiar with and able to apply the concepts learned in those courses, which are listed below under suggested prerequisites. Lectures serve as an overview and reminder of those concepts, but we do not spend a lot of time reviewing what was taught in other courses. It is not necessary to have taken all of the classes, but we recommend building teams whose combined members have taken all of the classes.
- Most of the learning is hands-on and takes place experientially in the context of the simulation.
- Students are given some guidance but encouraged to think through problems and find their own answers.
- The simulation is designed to reflect a complex business environment. To run the business effectively students should expect to invest time and effort to (1) learn the interface, (2) analyze the business and its environment, (3) plan strategy and tactics, and (4) work with others to execute those plans in the face of competition.